Didier Drogba made an emotional return to Chelsea on Tuesday evening, but it wasn’t a happy homecoming as his current side Galatasaray were knocked out of the Champions League by his former team.
First half goals from Samuel Eto’o and Gary Cahill confirmed Chelsea’s progression to the quarter finals, and the Ivorian striker appeared to struggle during his reunion with the Stamford Bridge faithful.
Drogba’s highlight of the night came in the first half when he blasted a free kick so high and wide that it hit a large banner that is ironically blazoned with his name and hangs in the upper tier of the Matthew Harding Stand.
You can check out a vine of his diabolical shot below:
Discussing Drogba’s timid performance, his former manager, Jose Mourinho, who is back in charge at Stamford Bridge for a second time, blamed the 36-year-old’s teammates.
“I think the most difficult thing for him was the way his team played,” stated Mourinho. “If you are a striker and the team is not there playing behind you, then you are a lonely man. It has happened to every striker in the world and tonight it happened to Didier.”
Before Tuesday’s encounter, Drogba had insisted that he wouldn’t celebrate if he scored. During the pre-match press conference Drogba remarked, “With all the respect that I have for this club, for the fans and for the players, I might not celebrate, but if we win I’ll be happy. I’m really happy to come back and to see some familiar faces.”
He continued, “It’s very difficult to play against Chelsea, but it’s not going to be difficult for me to put myself into the competition mode. Now I belong to Galatasaray. I need to be professional. Of course there will be emotions. Like the first leg to see my ex-team-mates and also the Chelsea fans in the stadium was special.”
Drogba is regarded as a Chelsea icon, after he led the London side to Champions League glory back in 2012. Drogba scored vital goals in the semi-final first leg against Barcelona, before he equalised in the dying minutes against Bayern Munich in the final too.
Then, when the Champions League final went to penalties, he stepped up to score the winning goal, which handed Chelsea their first ever European Cup. This proved to be Drogba’s last ever touch in a Chelsea shirt as he then signed for Shanghai Shenhua, before he moved on to Galatasaray in January 2013.
[Image via Mitch Gunn/Shutterstock]